Fork out less
The king of cutlery’s annual sale starts at noon on 27 December 2008 and runs until 11 January 2009. The biggest discounts are to be found on end-of-range or slightly damaged merchandise: 30 to 50 per cent off cutlery seconds and discontinued ranges of pans, pottery and glasses; 20 per cent off all own-design cutlery and kitchen knives; plus 10 per cent off normal stock.
The Flame tagines (right) cost from £42. David Mellor, 4 Sloane Square, SW1 (020 7730 4259; www.davidmellordesign.com).
Cool Cheshire cats
This street off Brick Lane is a welcome antidote to the big shopping centres and is holding a Christmas shopping evening on Friday 12 December 2008, from 6pm to 10pm.
Quirky shops where you will find presents you want to keep include Mar Mar, where you will find the Swiss Tools set (left), Labour and Wait, Shelf, Ella Doran and Handmade Interiors. For more information, visit www.cheshirestreet.co.uk.
Mother and baby
Muji is perfect for the one-stop-present hit, since everything it sells is affordable and much of it is eco-friendly, too. There are original attractive items for all ages, such as these irresistible knitted animal stocking-fillers, including an armadillo, kangaroo (right), turtle, squirrel and rabbit, from £5.99 each.
There are branches in Carnaby Street, Oxford Street, Tottenham Court Road and Selfridges, W1; Long Acre, WC2; Victoria Street, SW1; King’s Road, SW3; Kensington High Street, W8; and Whiteleys, W2. For more information, visit www.muji.eu.
This designer makes unusual and beautiful ceramics, including spoons (£48 a pair), small vessels and tea lights from £18 (left), all in milky-white unglazed porcelain, which looks delicate but is strong and versatile, while coloured glass baubles make pretty hanging vases.
Presentation and packaging are a major part of what you pay for in many places but here special gift wrapping is done automatically. For more information, visit www.carolineswift.com.
Ready for my close-up
The company that makes affordable designer lookalike furniture has knocked 15 per cent off everything in store and online until 21 December 2008. It will also guarantee rapid delivery service and have in-stock items delivered up to and including Christmas Eve, with the last-order date for guaranteed delivery being 19 December.
The faux-leather screen (right) is reduced from £145 to £123.25. For more information, visit www.dwell.co.uk.
Special Christmas offer: a right Royal draw
The Prince's Drawing School
Give someone a unique Christmas present - or enjoy it yourself. The Prince's Drawing School, known for providing quality tuition with an emphasis on drawing from life, is offering short courses in new, beautiful studios at Kensington Palace, W8.
Morning, afternoon or evening courses cost £150 for five weeks and start on 12 January 2009. There has been a huge renaissance in the importance of drawing; and unlike expensive computers, all you need to start is a pencil or charcoal.
Special offer: We have arranged a special introductory offer for Homes & Property readers: five classes for the price of four if booked before 1 January 2009. You can either enrol for £120, or give someone a gift certificate. To claim your discount please call 0207 613 8568, mentioning the Homes & Property offer. To find out more: visit www.princesdrawingschool.org.
The Georgian Group
Everyone loves Georgian buildings. So why not join the Georgian Group, which is dedicated to their preservation? It campaigns to save buildings from unsympathetic alterations and demolition.
Members can also get useful conservation advice, plus a magazine with competitions, discounts on selected goods and services and activities, including visits to beautiful private homes not open to the public. The London clubroom offers a reference library and coffee.
Homes & Property readers can now take advantage of a special two-for-one offer, which includes a gift pack with a special card, colour magazine and journal, which will be sent before Christmas. The first 10 people to join will also get a free copy of the bestselling Book of the Georgian House.
Join online at www.georgiangroup.org.uk, (quoting HP after your surname on the online form), or by post to The Georgian Group (HP), 6 Fitzroy Square, London W1T 5DX, enclosing a cheque for £35 payable to The Georgian Group and giving the names and addresses of the two new members. The offer is valid until Monday 15 December 2008.
Book now: Christmas in Scotland
Inshriach House near Aviemore is available from 20 to 27 December 2008, for £4,000 (usually £5,000). Inshriach is an Edwardian country house in the foothills of the Cairngorm mountains.
Step into the past with big open fires, dark panelling, a huge Christmas tree, curling on the loch and walks in the forests. There are 10 bedrooms (sleeps 17) with period wallpapers and antique beds. Go for walks in the 200 acres of woods, fields and forests or along three miles of the Spey river that belongs to the house.
Aviemore is the recreational centre of the Highlands, the ski area is 10 miles away and local activities include climbing, clay-pigeon shooting and riding. To book Inshriach House, call 01540 651341, quoting H&P. Visit www.inshriachhouse.com.